The Bear

"Inner strength, outer strength, and wisdom, these are the gifts of the Bear."
-Unknown, Choctaw Elder

The Kom Do Kwan™ has adopted the Bear as its symbol because of the bear's historical symbolism and its relevance to the philosophy of the Kwan and our martial arts teachings. The Bear is a prevalent symbol in cultures around the world, including but not limited to China, Japan, Korea, the Native American Peoples and many others cultures.

In each of these mythological or folk references the Bear is represented in a positive light with a definitive focus and qualities such as:

  • Wisdom
  • Healing
  • Respect for elders
  • Warmth and family values
  • Teaching the young
  • Speaking only when wisdom comes forth
  • Reserved strength

"Bears walks cautiously with strength both inwardly and outwardly carrying themselves with wisdom, but on a moment's notice they can unleash immense power, speed and ferocity. From this wisdom they embrace the love of their family and their children are of the utmost importance. Powerful yet reserved, Bears make good leaders, who stand with respect. When true Bears speak, they are to be heard, for from the opening of their lips comes right things, no wickedness, nothing perverse or crooked."

Description of members of the Bear Totem

Tae Kwon Do Kom Do Kwan

Bear Way School? The word Kwan can be translated as school or house. In the late 1950's/early 1960's several Kwans came together to standardize ideals and a name for their art, Tae Kwon Do. Some of the original Kwans were Chung Do Kwan (Blue Wave School), Jidokwan (Way of Wisdom School), and Moo Duk Kwan (School of Martial Virtue) etc... Each of these Kwans practiced the same art, but had different views on training focus, emphasis and methods.

Different kwans developed reputations based on their philosophies, training methods and the feats of their members. Chung Do Kwan was the largest of the original Kwans. Jidokwan distinguished itself early on as a prominent kyorugi (sparring school) and so on. We practice Tae Kwon Do Kom Do Kwan™ (Bear Way School or School of the Bear). The minor snippet of history listed above, should provide a modest amount of insight into how the Kwan concept was used historically and what we hope to do by forming a Kwan.

While our roots are from Chung Do Kwan, ultimately via Grand Master Jhoon Rhee, we believe that we have sufficiently evolved in our own course to form our own Kwan and philosophy toward training. Hence our motto, "Traditional Training for Practical Self-Defense" and our mantra, "Preserve the Past, Embrace the Future." Lineage The Kom Do Kwan™ lineage evolved from orginally from the following line of instructors:

Jhoon Rhee -> Allen Steen -> Skipper Mullens -> Jim Miller&Jack LoCoco/William Valdes -> Jason Thomas.

The Kom Do Kwan™ was founded in August of 1990 at the Defense Language Institute, Presidio of Monterrey by Jason E. Thomas. It roots extend from the Allen Steen Brand of Chung Do Kwan colloquially known as "Texas Blood & Guts" Karate which has since evolved into the AKBBA, the Kom Do Kwan™ and other organizations.

It's All About Choices

The Kom Do Kwan is a culmination of choices we have made with in the larger Tae Kwon Do frame work. What are those choices and what is your philosophy? One might ask? Traditional Tae Kwon Do vs. Sport Tae Kwon Do The first choice is probably most debated issue in the Tae Kwon Do community. While no school can truly be totally one side of the issue or the other. North Austin Tae Kwon Do is definitely skewed towards the Traditional side of this debate.

We practice sweeps, take downs, eye gouges, groin strikes, we punch to the head and so forth. We utilize point sparring as the primary venue for free sparring and spend a lot of time on three step sparring and one step sparring. Traditional, however, does not mean that we do not embrace new things or preserve older things that are not of Korean origin. For example, even though we utilize the Chang Hon forms, we still practice Bassai and Chul-gi (also called Tekki or Nahanchi). Both of these forms are Japanese in origin, but originally they were taught in many Tae Kwon Do schools. In the 1970's many Tae Kwon Do schools sought to remove the Japanese influence from their Tae Kwon Do curriculum and removed them. We merely explain that they are Japanese in origin.

We also attend and host many seminars from other arts such as Tang Soo Do, Shotokan, Hapkido, Arnis/Escrima etc... We sometimes review these techniques in class to widen our students views and experience. When this happens we cite theses new items as being techniques from other arts, so that the students have a proper understanding of where they come from and how they relate to Tae Kwon Do. If we are fortunate to think of something new or create a new exercise, we simply annotate that item as something new that we have created and incorporate it into our practice, if we deem the new item to be beneficial. Thus we "Preserve the past and embrace the future." Our curriculum is based in traditional Tae Kwon Do. While students may see a variety of techniques, they test on the standard Tae Kwon Do curriculum listed in our Belt Test Guide.

In summary the Kom Do Kwan (곰도관) is a modern taekwondo kwan with strong emphasis on self-defense oriented techniques originating from the Allen Steen line of the Chung Do Kwan with strong influence from Shotokan, Hapkido and Arnis.

Kom Do Kwan Martial Arts Association

The Kom Do Kwan Martial Arts Association evolved from our efforts to share knowledge, network with other martial arts, and help enrich students through martial arts practice. We found there were many other martial arts brothers and sisters who wanted to be a part of larger group of martial artists comprised of diverse styles that facilitates growth and personal development.

Contact Us

If you would like more information please contact us at (512) 333-2460 or email